NIA, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of NIH, leads the federal government in conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life.
In 1974, Congress granted authority to form NIA to provide leadership in aging research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs relevant to aging and older people. Subsequent amendments to this legislation designated NIA as the primary Federal agency on Alzheimer’s disease research.
The Institute's mission is to:
- Support and conduct genetic, biological, clinical, behavioral, social, and economic research on aging.
- Foster the development of research and clinician scientists in aging.
- Provide research resources.
- Disseminate information about aging and advances in research to the public, health care professionals, and the scientific community, among a variety of audiences.
NIA pursues this mission by funding extramural research at universities and medical centers across the United States and around the world; maintaining an active communications and outreach program; and conducting a vibrant intramural research program at NIA laboratories in Baltimore and Bethesda, Maryland.
Aging Well in the 21st Century: Strategic Directions for Research on Aging, most recently updated in 2016, is NIA's "road map" for progress in aging research and outlines our goals and vision. It provides a point of reference for setting priorities and a framework for systematically analyzing the Institute's scientific portfolio and assessing progress.